The Top 3 Things That Drive Us Bonkers About Appointment Booking
As you roll out of bed and walk to the kitchen, you ask Alexa to brew a pot of coffee and read you the morning headlines. While the coffee’s brewing, you scroll through Instagram, check Facebook updates, and scope out your appointment scheduler for the day ahead.
On the drive to work, you ask Siri to call your wife and remind her she’ll be on her own for dinner since you have an appointment after work. She asks if you remembered to re-order meals from Fresh, and thanks to the automatic reminder they sent – you did. Dinner covered.
Your life’s easier thanks to automation—almost scarily so.
The latest advancements in appointment booking technology enable even the smallest business to serve at a higher level. So when you stumble across those who ignore the opportunity to upgrade, you shake your head in amazement.
Why would you willingly stay in the dark ages of the 20th century, when you can embrace change?
Dip your toe into scheduling without the help of technology and you’ll feel the pain. You’re about to embark on a nightmarish journey through what drives us crazy in the land of appointment booking.
1. Hold the phone. I have to use what for appointment booking.
When was the last time you used the speaking part of your phone to do anything (other than talk to your mom)? Isn’t Apple removing the speaker in its next iPhone release 😉?
It’s insane that any business in 2019 would expect clients to contact them to book an appointment by phone. There are only two scenarios that can play out when the company you’re trying to reach has a “book by phone” only policy:
The first, you finally find time to call and reception doesn’t pick up the phone.
This could be because the reception’s too busy, on the phone, away from the desk or closed. So now you’re forced to leave a voicemail or call back.
If you leave a voicemail, an unfortunate series of events will now unfold—phone tag, missed calls, no callback, a message with an appointment time you can’t make, a message you can’t understand…the list is endless.
Or, you have to take time out of your day to call back, which leads to…
Reception does answer and the least fun game of all time begins.
After you ask to make an appointment you’re entered into a whack-a-mole game of find a date/time that’s open and works for you.
This can be as easy or difficult as the person at reception wants it to be. YOU don’t have access to the calendar, but are usually the one having to “guess” what date/time works best. The reception then bats down your request repeatedly until one of you gives up.
Both scenarios will make your blood pressure increase and send you running to Google in a frantic search for another business that has online appointment scheduling.
This is especially true if you’re born after 1981. As a group, 75% of Millennials choose to text over talk (and that’s to each other), so good luck getting them to speak with your business over the phone.
On top of that, 40% of online bookings happens after-hours. And you can relate, your lunch breaks are already jam-packed; standing by to get a coffee or downing a sandwich while also catching up on whatever happened last night on Euphoria.
But it’s the aftermath of the dreaded phone call that should have imploded this system years ago. You put your blind trust in the person who takes your appointment. After all, you can’t see what they’re doing.
In a shop where a pencil and appointment scheduling book is the method of choice, you’re one eraser away from disappearing. Think about how busy the front desk is in the businesses you frequent.
How easy would it be to:
- get busy answering calls, booking other people in and put you into the wrong time slot
- attach your appointment to the incorrect client file
- write your details onto a post-it and swear they’ll enter it later…then completely forget
- double book you
And let’s not even get into forcing socially awkward people into small talk just so they can make a vet’s appointment, let alone have to CANCEL one.
Come on, that’s just cruel.
2. How many passwords and logins can one human being handle?
Dashlane, headquartered in New York City, estimates the average American has about 200 accounts that need some sort of password identification. Whoa. I guess for some businesses they figure their clients are cool to add one more—no big deal.
At least with businesses using online appointment scheduling, you don’t need to worry about making the dreaded phone call (thank god). But, when you need to create an account, there’s a whole host of new concerns. On top of adding another login (this will be #201 ☝️), you must create a new password you’ll never remember (and no, don’t use Kanye’s #0000 to try and play it safe).
Once you enter in your password, it’s time to defeat the gatekeeper.
Who’s the gatekeeper? Oh, you know, the “robot” who asks you to confirm you’re not a robot by selecting “all the cars,” “all the street signs” and finally “all the lights,” before it determines if you’re human enough to continue.
Once granted the privilege of getting to the next step, it’s onto the most private of details: name, address, DOB, credit card number, email address and whatever information the business desperately wants to find out about you.
Then, and only then are the doors to the sacred online booking calendar opened. You feel like you’ve hit the jackpot; full access to your booking history, the ability to change or cancel your appointment—but alas, nothing’s as good as it seems.
A few days later you get the ping of an email welcoming you to said business…hold up. Did you sign up to be on this email list? How do you unsubscribe? Ugghhh…you don’t want any more emails!
Then it happens, the day you need to change your appointment.
You’re frantically searching your Inbox for a booking confirmation email (nowhere to be found—you’ve got that welcome email though 😳). So now you’re forced through the login process all over again and left to figure out how to change your appointment. They haven’t made it easy. No buttons pointing to “change” and zero links either…oh gosh, are you going to have to call?
So much for simple.
3. Please don’t give us (another) appointment reminder card.
How many times has this happened to you: you’ve spent the last couple of hours having your gums assaulted wearing “sunglasses” that are moonlighting as some sort of mid-2000’s safety goggles. As you run your tongue over your newly sanded teeth, the receptionist jumps at the opportunity to schedule your next appointment in…wait for it…nine months. Since you’ll do anything to get away from the mix of elevator music and fluoride-soaked air, you nod with forced enthusiasm.
That’s when it happens.
Across the desk, you see something sliding over to you. Your brain can’t compute what’s happening. Is-is that a business card? Do people even use those anymore—you know, the whole environmentally friendly thing and all? As you turn the card over in your hand, you’re unsure where you‘ll put it, so it doesn’t get lost. Last-minute, you decide to toss the reminder in your pocket and worry about finding it later.
Except there isn’t a later, that’s the problem.
That office is banking on you (ha!) to keep that two by three-piece of paper safe and in eye-shot for the next nine months. Sure, a reminder call might happen, but who knows. The risk of human error here is pretty high.
You see, even if your name’s next on the reminder call list, the office phone may ring, and when the receptionist goes back to follow up with tomorrow’s appointments she thinks you’ve already been called.
And let’s talk about those calls.
If you’re honest, nine times out of ten you’re not answering your phone (it’s mostly robocalls and telemarketers anyway), so the message is going to voicemail—and that’s where the real fun begins.
Thanks to our lack of phone time, messages have gone downhill: too fast, too quiet, too much background noise—most voicemails are indecipherable. And guess what that means? Now you have to call back to ask what the heck the message was all about!
Or, worst-case scenario…you don’t check your voicemail. Now, you get dinged with a no-show fee and the shame of being “that guy.” Not the best way to wow your clients.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Appointment booking for a brand new era.
Not only has technology advanced in the last 20 years, but it’s also becoming easier to use and more accessible to any size of business.
A significant change is never easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.
With online appointment scheduling, it’s a simple decision. People prefer to book online if they have the choice, it gives them the freedom to connect with you, at their convenience. Your clients can’t stand waiting on hold, and they want to get their appointment reminders by text, not a garbled voicemail.
If you’re still having your clients make their appointment booking offline, what’s holding you back? Let us know in the comments below.
And if you’re ready to test out the waters online, you can start a free 30-day trial with BookedIN today.